Premier League champions Manchester City will play their first game in reign against Newcastle United on Friday night.
Guardiola, who is now a 3-time Premier League champion, will be willing to provide opportunities to some of the more fringe players as he would not want injuries to any of the key players with the Champions League final in less than three weeks.
Newcastle United, who are putting together a great run, will want to seal another win, and when the opponent is Man City, the motivation will certainly be up there.
Newcastle United will provide a guard of honour, but that is as far as it goes?
10 points out of a possible 15 in the last five games secured Newcastle United’s season, and the Magpies look like a different team going forward. Last weekend was a perfect representation of this as Newcastle ripped apart 3rd placed Leicester City 4-2 at the King Power, with goals from Joe Willock, Paul Dummet, and a brace from Callum Wilson.
Allan Saint-Maximin was on show again as his trickery and skill in the box was a constant problem for the Leicester defence, but it was Joe Willock who continued his good form in front of goal as he scored his 3rd goal in 5 games for the Magpies. Newcastle’s defence, however, portrayed a different image as they conceded 25 shots, with 9 on target and they rode their luck at times, but in all honesty, Newcastle deserved the win.
The issue Steve Bruce would have is that if they do concede as many shots against Man City, they will be severely punished and it could end up becoming a rout for the Premier League champions. Newcastle need to be much more aligned at the back while they also need to close up the open spaces in midfield if they want to win against Guardiola’s men. Steve Bruce, a former Manchester United player, will always have the added motivation to defeat Man City, however, he does have his work cut out for him as Newcastle have only won twice out of their last 21 games against Manchester City.
Newcastle United Injury news:
Newcastle United’s top goal-scorer, Callum Wilson, took his tally to 12 goals in the season with a brace against Leicester, but the forward also suffered a hamstring injury later in the game, which has ruled him out for the rest of the season. Fabian Schar, who returned to action against Arsenal after a long-term injury, was sent off against the Gunners and will now serve the second of a three-match suspension against Man City. Club captain Jamal Lascelles, who has been out with injury for the Magpies’ last five games, is all but ruled out for the entirety of the season, however, Steve Bruce is hoping that Lascelles can play the last game of the season. Isaac Hayden, who suffered a knee injury against Brighton in March, will be out for the season. Ryan Fraser too has suffered a calf injury and will be out for a few weeks. Newcastle’s 2nd choice keeper in Karl Darlow suffered a knee injury and will be out for a few weeks, Steve Bruce confirmed.
Will Manchester City steamroll Newcastle United yet again?
After United’s loss on Tuesday night confirmed Man City’s Premier League title triumph, it showcased City’s domination over the years as it was their 5th Premier League title in the last ten years.
Now, Guardiola’s attention will shift to Newcastle United as the Citizens will be hoping to win yet again against the Magpies. However, City did falter at St. James Park a couple of years ago and lost the game 2-1. They were one of the very few teams to cause a stutter in City’s title triumph that year, but things have changed since then, especially for Man City. The Citizens are now in a Champions League final, and they would not want to do anything that would lead to injuries to their key players.
While a lot of players were rested against Chelsea last weekend, Guardiola paid the price as his side lost the game in the 92nd minute and City faltered at the opportunity of winning the league at the Ethiad. Sergio Aguero’s penalty miss against Chelsea, albeit shocking, was an ugly dot on his otherwise stellar career at the club and the Argentinian will be hoping to break Wayne Rooney’s record of most goals (183) at a single club, with Aguero only a goal behind.
Moreover, players like Ferran Torres and Gabriel Jesus, who are certain to start on Friday night, will be aiming to produce good performances if they want to play a part in the Champions League final on May 29. It is also not certain who Guardiola will employ in the defence alongside Ruben Dias in the UCL final, thus, both John Stones and Aymeric Laporte will want to make their cases as City enter their last 3 games of the Premier League campaign.
Guardiola will want to keep the confidence high in the dressing room, and a strong end to the season will certainly do that.
Man City Injury news:
Kevin De Bruyne was the only absentee last weekend due to a muscle fatigue issue, and the Belgian will likely be rested for the game against Newcastle United. John Stones will be serving his third of a three-match suspension after the defender was sent off against Aston Villa three weeks ago.
Newcastle United: Martin Dubravka- Jacob Murphy; Federico Fernandez; Emil Krafth; Paul Dummett; Matt Ritchie- Miguel Almiron; Jonjo Shelvey; Joe Willock; Allan Saint-Maximin-Calum Wilson.
Manchester City: Ederson- Kyle Walker; Aymeric Laporte; Nathan Ake; Oleksandr Zinchenko- Fernandinho; Ferran Torres; Bernardo Silva; Raheem Sterling- Sergio Aguero; Gabriel Jesus.